The lantern of Autogrill Villoresi Est
GRAPHICS BY ALIZARINA
Autogrill Villoresi Est, motorway services of the third millenniumThe design of rest areas to promote the travel experience
The Villoresi Est Motorway Services are on the Milano-Laghi motorway, in a stretch that is one of the busiest in Italy with annual traffic flow of about 30 million vehicles. Here, there is one of the Autogrill (motorway services) most representative of the origins of the group of the same name – Villoresi Ovest, on the opposite side of the road, inaugurated in 1958 and, in 1960, recognised by the American magazine LIFE as the symbol of Italian luxury. Autogrill has returned to the area with the same innovating spirit to write another chapter in its history with new, futuristic architecture. A project that speaks the international language of sustainability and offers a number of glimpses into the future of the journey and services to travellers.
The design and development of Villoresi was co-ordinated by Total Tool and is the international best practice for sustainable innovation of the Autogrill Group, creating a set of virtuous solutions locally that can be reproduced individually in other points of sale of the group’s worldwide network.
Seen in perspective from the Autostrada dei Laghi (Lakes motorway), the building, with the historic Villoresi Ovest, forms a large access portal to Milan and Italy and, through its design, infuses the feeling of fluidity typical of the ‘stop on the go’ of the holidaymakers and commuters using the stretch of motorway.
Autogrill for All
The total accessibility of the service area is one of the most significant features of Villoresi, where the design of the layouts, furnishings and equipment is based on the principles of Design for All and DASA-Rägister Certification.
On the interior design front, Villoresi Est is a pioneering experience in the removal of architectural barriers and limitations on the free circulation of customers, raising the service area to best practice for accessibility for all. The interior design was developed starting from the many specific needs of people travelling (businesspeople, families, women, truckers, children, the elderly, disabled, the blind, etc.). The knowledge necessary to offer a new generation commercial experience, based on a concept of welcome for all and aimed at ensuring the freedom, safety and ease of movement of all travellers, was acquired through research in the field.
At the entrance, Autogrill has a Welcome Desk, a customer assistance service, where it responds to travellers’ needs and requests. Villoresi Est is also an area for experimenting a new model of catering service, a free flow assisted-service that involves the staff member in the composition of the tray for the customer. This option is especially easy for families with children but also for all the people with physical disabilities who are unable to move independently in the restaurant area. The market also features shelving accessible to people in wheelchairs. In addition, toilets of different ‘styles’ have also been designed, with sizes modulated according to the different needs (mothers with children, the disabled, people with physical, perceptual and sensorial disabilities, etc.).
The Villoresi Est car park has well-structured video surveillance and protected pedestrian pathway systems, with retaining blocks and crossing areas with speed bumps, to ensure a safe stop. The floor of the car park-entrance door path has a textured finish for blind and visually impaired people and a special colour as a guide for all.
A two-speed point of sale
Villoresi Est started from the analysis of the customer, with quantitative and qualitative mapping of the traffic, for the development of the project. The study showed that the main targets of the point of sale were businesspeople, commuters, truckers and holidaymakers (families, groups and individuals). The results led to a design of the services shaped entirely round the distinctive features of the customers and the definition of a two-speed experience:
- fast service for those who intend to make short stops and optimise the time of the stop;
- slow experience targeting the customer sectors intending to enjoy a medium-long break and savour the Villoresi offer calmly.
Therefore, an ideal separation between a fast area with a new concept (Spizzico Bar) with innovation in the layout and offer of the range of Autogrill brands was theorised in the space. The slow area is intended for catering, retail and relaxation services for people with more time. On this point, Autogrill developed a set of services for families stopping at Villoresi with the concepts of welcome, comfort and safety. Outside, there are 15 parking places reserved for women and families with facilitated access routes to the point of sale and a play area for children. Inside, there is an additional play area, a family room for changing and hosting children aged 0-10, a children’s menu, bottle warmer, colouring games and a Dog Park with green area for movement, water, shade and litter.
For the business customer, Villoresi has:
- an office on the move with free Wi-Fi, and electric sockets for recharging PCs and mobile phones near to the seats;
- information with SKY TG 24 and a vast range of daily newspapers, magazines and management books to read in comfortable armchairs;
- a business centre with 2 conference rooms.
For the lorry drivers stopping at Villoresi Est, Autogrill has a free parking area with more than 60 places with specific video surveillance, safe, lit routes and a Trucker Lounge, with video surveillance screens which enable drivers to keep an eye on their lorry, toilets, showers, hair-dryers and dryers.
On the energy operation front, Villoresi Est was conceived as a living technological organism, sensitive to natural cycles and powered using the innovative combination of geothermics and photovoltaics, the energy of the earth and the sun. An all-round sustainability project that Autogrill created following the principles of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design protocol with design and installation choices intended to reduce the energy and environmental impact and ensure integration with the surrounding area and landscape.